Liturgists Needed for 2018

If you feel called to be a liturgist for one month during the 2018 year, please contact the consistory vice president.  She will be happy to assign a month to you.  The assignment involves opening the worship service, announcing hymns, and reading one of the scripture passages.  Details will be explained to you prior to the Sunday services.

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Christmas Poinsettias May Be Ordered

Christmas poinsettias to grace the sanctuary may be ordered from November 19 through December 3.  A special leaflet on which you may place your order will be enclosed in the bulletins.

Donations may be made to the General Memorial Fund in addition to, or in lieu of, poinsettias.  Details appear on the leaflet in your bulletin.

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St. John’s UCC Cookbooks Make Great Stocking Stuffers

If you are looking for a little extra stocking stuffer for family and friends, the St. John’s cookbooks are available and are yours for the taking.  They can be found on the hutch at the back of the sanctuary.

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Tending God’s Light (Matthew 25:1-13)

There are so many ways that we are all still, under our skin, adolescents.  Delaying gratification, or planning for a possible future, or thinking beyond our own needs seem to be traits difficult to cultivate.  Are we hardwired for not being able to see beyond the tip of our nose so that even planning can be a struggle? Which bridesmaid in this familiar and iconic tale from Matthew’s Gospel are you?  Would you remember to bring extra oil?  Would you be ready for the night to fall?  Or would you be left in the dark and unable to greet the bridegroom?

When psychologists test for how some people have developed the ability to delay gratification, they notice that those who are able to imagine a pleasant outcome to their choice–rather than thinking of it simply in terms of what they are giving up–are more likely to postpone one thing for something greater. Saving is about remembering what it is you are saving for rather than how little you have for now. Another way of saying that is this:  We should think about today so that there will be a better future for ourselves and others.

If the Gospel is about nothing else it is about hope.  Hope in a better world and in the genuine compassionate nature of human beings that a fully human Christ makes possible.  Hope is a gift from us to the future.  But only if we make that hope tangible and not just a dream we embroider on a cushion.  What is it we need to do, and to what do we need to give so that the future will receive its gift from us?  Who will benefit from the gift or pledge we make today?  Who will receive it?

These are the things we might ask ourselves as we prepare our offering to the church of Jesus Christ.  What will your church mean to the future?  What do you imagine that future to be?

How will what you give today manifest itself for those who will be members of this church or residents of your town years from now?  It’s not what you give up, it’s what you give to.

Those bridesmaids were split between those who imagined the future and those who did not.

They saw the connection between what they did today and what might happen tomorrow.  Isn’t that one of the things that is a sign of maturity?  Be a mature bridesmaid and give to your church. The future is asking.

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Partners in Service (Matthew 23:1-12)

“At exactly fifteen minutes past eight in the morning, on August 6, 1945, Japanese time, at the moment when the atomic bomb flashed above Hiroshima..”.   John Hersey

There is nothing clearer about the Gospel of Jesus Christ than that it calls us to service. We all weigh our service to our families and our own well-being against the call of a world full of need. Work and church and community all vie for a place on our calendar. However, after years of working, you might find yourself moving into a part-time job or retiring. Or, you might be a recent college graduate with a summer to volunteer. Do you ever think that volunteering away from home in an unfamiliar setting could also be a kind of adventure? Do you have time in your life to have an adventure and be of service to others?

Partners in Service is a program of the United Church of Christ that offers opportunities for volunteer placement around the country. The placements can be as short as a summer and as long as twelve months. You could be rehabbing houses in Fresno, California, supporting humane borders in Tucson, Arizona, or working with youth in Atlanta, Georgia. How about volunteering at Heifer International Farm? Working with addicts and health services? Want an international volunteer placement? If you are an adult of any age, and have the time, you can have an adventure in service. Go to ucc.org and search for the application to Partners in Service.

Betzi Yungclas is a member of the First Community United Church of Christ, Dallas, Texas, and a serial volunteer for Partners in Service. She saw a brochure for Partners at a Conference-wide meeting and knew that it was something she could do. She had spent thirty years working for AT&T where she was the first woman in the country to climb telephone poles. Now, volunteering is her work. She has been placed in a variety of disaster relief settings from Katrina to her more recent work helping the recovery effort after Hurricane Matthew. She has also spent a long-term opportunity working with Humane Borders in Arizona.

One of Betzi’s co-volunteers is Jon Wallace, a member of Park Hill Congregational United Church of Christ, Denver, Colorado. Of his experiences Jon says, “Bringing communities together, teaching, and companioning them towards recovery and resilience, brings joy and gratefulness as I see God at work through the hands of the church and others.”

What about you, or someone you know? Is there time on your hands? Do you wonder what it would be like to work for peace with others of a like mind, to help embody justice, to create hope in hopeless situations, advocate for clean and affordable housing, build new homes after a disasters? Betzi says that picking up that brochure long ago changed her life. Do you want a change in your life? Remember Jesus said, “The greatest among you will be your servant.” Is there service in your future?

 

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Hanging of the Greens Sunday, December 3

Sunday, December 3, marks the beginning of the Advent season.  This year, St. John’s will be celebrating the Hanging of the Greens and placing our gifts to God on our sanctuary Christmas tree during the worship service on December 3.

The wreathe, which is our symbol to place on the large tree in the sanctuary,  is a round circle which has no beginning or end.  It is the Alpha and the Omega, and reminds us of the completeness of God’s love and what Jesus is and what he means to the totality of our lives.  It is also a reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice for our salvation.

There are three kinds of wreathes from which congregants may choose.  A variety of items are available for decorating of the wreathes.  Please pick up a wreathe and decorating items this Sunday, October 29.  The decorated wreathes may be returned on Sunday, December 3.

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Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child is another mission project sponsored by the Board of Christian Education. The project includes gifts placed in a shoe box that will be delivered to a child in need around the world to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way.  For many of these children, the gift-filled shoe box is the first gift they have ever received.  A list of acceptable items to fill the box is available as well.  The shoe boxes should be back to the church by October 22 so they can be taken to our distribution center drop-off, which is Ebenezer Mennonite Church.

We have been successful in collecting 39 shoe boxes.  Tracking numbers have been printed for each box, and the labels will be affixed to the shoe boxes.  We will be able to follow the shipping locations of the boxes so that we will know to which countries the boxes will be distributed.

 

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Quilt Auction

An original quilt designed with pieces in Civil War style, was handmade by St. John’s UCC member, Connie Kempf.  Members of St. John’s UCC will be selling raffle tickets priced at $1.00 a piece, or 6 tickets for $5.00. The winner of the raffle will receive the quilt. The raffle is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, January 2, 2018.  The proceeds from the ticket sales will be designated for local missions.

Please be generous with your ticket purchases when someone invites you to buy some. You won’t be disappointed.

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Food Pantry in Need of Supplies

You will notice that the food pantry shelves empty out quickly, especially after the third Saturday distribution takes place.  Out of our abundance, we need to meet the needs of others.  On a Sunday morning, open your cupboard door and pull out a can, box, jar of something and bring it in and place it on the table at the front of the sanctuary.  (Please check expiration dates before bringing in items.)  Thank you!

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This Week at St. John’s UCC

Saturday, November 18–Food pantry open, 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Sunday, November 19–Worship at 10:30 a.m.  Pastor Carol’s meditation is titled “Thanksgiving:  Where Are You Looking for It?”  The worship service will be one of thanksgiving.  The choir will sing a traditional favorite titled “Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem” by J.H.Maunder.  All are welcome to attend the coffee hour in Oppermann Hall after the worship service.

Board of Christian Education meets following the worship service.

Tuesday, November 21–Ladies meet at LuLu’s, 9 a.m.; organ tuning takes place at 3 p.m.; TOPS meets at 6 p.m.

Wednesday, November 22–Men meet at Arby’s, 8:30 a.m.

Thursday, November 23–Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 24–Church office is closed.

Saturday, November 25–Sanctuary prepared for Advent and Christmas.  All are invited to help decorate, 9 a.m.

Sunday, November 26–Consistory meets following the 10:30 a.m. worship service

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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